Citizenship By Descent

To be eligible for Spanish citizenship by descent, you need to meet one of the following criteria:

  • Have a Spanish grandparent or parent born outside of Spain.
  • Be a grandchild of a Spanish woman born in Spain who married a non-Spanish citizen before 1978.
  • Be a grandchild of a Spanish citizen who obtained citizenship from another country after leaving Spain before their children were born.
  • Be a grandchild of a Spanish citizen who did not apply to become a Spanish citizen before the age of 18 and lost the automatic privilege.
Spanish Citizenship By Descent

Short heading here

Capital city


Short heading here

Visa free countries

Schengen Area

Short heading here

Total area

505,990 km2

Short heading here


Spanish, Catalan, Basque, Galician

Short heading here


Euro €

Short heading here



Short heading here

Time zone

UTC⁠±0 to +1

Spain Map

Medium length section heading goes here

Freedom of movement within the Schengen zone

Medium length section heading goes here

Ranked #1 globally for ease of doing business

Medium length section heading goes here

Ibero-American nationals gain citizenship after
two years

Medium length section heading goes here

Considered one of the best places for retirees given its affordable cost
of living


Download the Country Factsheet

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Spanish Citizenship by Ancestry Options

There are 4 primary Paths to obtaining Spanish Citizenship through Ancestry

Path 1: Spanish Citizenship by Birth:

  • You are Spanish by origin/birth and can apply directly for Spanish citizenship (where you do not require a residency period) if you were:
  • If one of your parents is a Spanish citizen born in Spain,
  • Born in Spain to foreign parents, if at least one parent was also born in Spain.The exception is children of diplomats and consuls accredited in Spain;
  • Were adopted by a Spaniard and are under 18, or are over 18 and were adopted within the last two years;
  • We're born in Spain to foreign parents whose identity is unknown or their country of origin is undetermined (stateless or refugee status). This also applies if neither parents’ nationality could be legally passed on to you.

Path 2: Spanish Citizenship by Descent

  • You have a grandparent who was a Spanish citizen or a Spanish parent born outside of Spain.
  • Grandchildren of Spanish women who were born in Spain and married to non-Spanish citizens before 1978.
  • Grandchildren of Spanish nationals who received nationality from another country after leaving Spain before their children were born (which means their children at the time of birth were not Spanish citizens).
  • Grandchildren of citizens of Spain who did not apply to become Spanish citizens before 18 years of age (and lost the automatic privilege)

Path 3: Spanish Citizenship by Residency

  • The length of time you must wait before applying for citizenship may differ based on where you are from and your family ties:
  • The standard rule is ten years.
  • If you are a refugee, you will be detained for five years.
  • If you are from Latin America, Andorra, Equatorial Guinea, the Philippines, or Portugal, you can stay for two years.
  • One year for people married to a Spanish national or their children/grandchildren born in Spain.
    Other criteria include:
    - You must have lived without interruption for the required number of periods. This means that you cannot leave the nation for extended periods of time (more than three months).
    - Authorities will investigate your criminal history and police records.
    - The year count begins when your initial residency card is valid.
    - Any time spent in Spain on a tourist or student visa will not be counted because these are considered stay periods.

Path 4: Spanish Citizenship by Option

  • You have a spanish born parent, you were born outside of Spains and are under 18 years of age
  • You are over 18 years of age and qualify under the new Let de Nieto Law
Fast-Track Naturalization To Spanish Citizenship

Fast-Track Naturalization To Spanish Citizenship

Naturalization to Spanish citizenship normally requires 10 years of continuous residence and the renunciation of your other citizenships.

With the Spanish Citizenship by Ancestry stream, you can apply for naturalization after only 1 or 2 years of residence in Spain. Recently, the Spanish authorities relaxed their physical presence requirements for those applying through the ancestry stream.

You are only required to spend no more than 3 months continuously outside of Spain (meaning you can travel back and forth every 3 months and only spend a handful of days in Spain a year, if that’s your desire).

Naturalization after 1 year:

  • For persons born in Spanish territory.
  • The widower or widow of a Spanish national, if, at the time of the death of the spouse, they were not separated in fact or legally.
  • Those born outside Spain to a Spanish father or mother (also born outside Spain), grandfather or grandmother, provided that all were originally Spanish.

Naturalization after 2 years:

For nationals of the countries below or persons of Sephardic origin:

Subheading one
  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico (U.S. Commonwealth)
  • Spain
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
Subheading two

Residence Options / Resident Permit in Spain

If you qualify for fast-track naturalization, you’ll need to obtain a resident permit to be allowed to legally reside in Spain. To qualify for naturalization, you’ll need to have 1 or 2 years of residence. Residence means you spend less than 3 continuous months outside of Spain.

You have a few options to gain a resident permit in Spain, but the recommended one is the Spanish Investor Residency program, also known as the Spanish Golden Visa. This is the favored option for HNWI since it offers more flexibility and security. Be aware that once your citizenship application is submitted, it takes 1 year for the Spanish authorities to process your request, meaning it will take 2 to 3 years from the moment you gain residence in Spain to the moment you become a citizen.

This is why the Golden Visa is the recommended route, as others require annual renewals or have requirements to fulfill each year. Also, it’s the only way for you to dodge the Spanish Wealth Tax on your worldwide assets.

Resident Permit in Spain


Application Processing Time: 1-4 Years

Medium length section heading goes here


Before being able to apply for fast-track naturalization, you’ll need to gain legal residence in Spain. Choose your favored path and start gathering the relevant documents you need to apply. Application for the Investor visa is pretty fast and can be completed in 1 or 2 months.

Medium length section heading goes here


After you have landed in Spain, register with the municipality in which you will reside. You’ll have to be physically present for half of the year in Spain for it to count towards naturalization.

Medium length section heading goes here

STAGE 3 | YEAR 2 - 4

Once you are eligible to apply for naturalization (1 or 2 years of residence), gather your documents and submit your application (preferably online for faster processing). After 1 year, you’ll be notified of the decision. If the decision is positive, you’ll be asked to appear to pledge allegiance. You’ll receive your citizenship certificate shortly after that process is completed.


Application Process

Subheading one

Step 1: Member onboarding

Kick-off call


Complete Pedigree Tree

Subheading two

Step 2: Vital Records Retrieval


Cuba, Puerto Rico & USA

Subheading three

Step 3: Vital Records Prep




Subheading four

Step 4: Application Preparation


Consular Appointment


Subheading four

Step 5: Citizenship Approval


Subheading four

Step 6: Passport Approval

Citizenship Certificate

Oath swearing at local consulate

Spanish Passport

Spain Citizenship by Descent
Application Requirements

To be eligible for fast-track naturalization, you need to have spent eight months a year in Spain. To be able to legally reside in Spain, you need to first apply for residency. You can obtain a Wealth Visa or a Golden Visa for that purpose. Sephardic Jews are not required to be physically present in Spain during those two years.

Spanish Citizenship By Descent Application Requirements

Long heading is what you see here in this feature section


Spanish citizenship by descent offers three distinct routes:

1. If you have a Spanish parent or grandparent born in Spain, you can claim your citizenship by making an appointment at your nearest Spanish consulate.

2. If you are a national of Ibero-American countries or of Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal, or a person of Sephardic origin, you can apply for fast-track naturalization after two years of residence in Spain.

Spanish Citizenship By Descent Application Requirements

Long heading is what you see here in this feature section

Other requirements:

The process for Spanish citizenship by ancestry can take 12-18 months,
depending on the route and your eligibility.

For those that require it, to be able to legally reside in Spain, you need to first apply for residency. You can obtain a Wealth Visa or a Golden Visa for that purpose.


Each path to Citizenship has a unique series of requirements that must be fulfilled when applying.. If applicable. for residence permit requirements, read the Spanish Golden Visa section.

Some requirements might include:

Short heading here

Police Report:
A Police Certificate from your country of origin, translated, legalized, and issued by the competent authorities.

Short heading here

Language and Civic Test:
You must take the Constitutional and Sociocultural Knowledge Test (CCSE) and the Spanish Language Proficiency Test (DELE). Nationals of a country in which Spanish is an official language are exempt from the DELE examination.

Short heading here

Physical Presence:
You will need an “empadronamiento”, a certificate from the municipality in which you are a registered resident.

Short heading here

Oath of Allegiance:You must swear allegiance to the King of Spain and obedience to the Constitution and laws. During this process, you must orally renounce your previous citizenship unless you’re from an exempted nation.


For the resident permit, the spouse and minor children also receive a resident permit with the main applicant. Under the Golden Visa, parents of the main applicant can also receive a resident permit.

For naturalization, the child of the main applicant will automatically become a Spanish citizen with its parent. The spouse will be able to apply 1 year after the main applicant has received Spanish citizenship if, at the time of the application, they have been married for one year to a Spanish national and are not legally separated or have not had a common-law separation.

Do you qualify for Spanish citizenship?

Take a free eligibility test today! Your eligibility for ancestry-based citizenship will be determined within 48 hours by the internal genealogy team at Global RCG.


Latest Articles on Spain

Enjoy our articles related to Spain

5 min read

Spanish Citizenship by Descent - Requirements & How to apply

Applying for Spanish citizenship on its own is not very expensive. Global RCG normally charges $5,000 for simple cases. Read more.
5 min read

How to get your Spanish Citizenship by descent | Global RCG

If you are a descendant of a Spaniard, you may be eligible for Spanish citizenship. Learn how to apply and the documents you will need.
5 min read

GrandChildren Law: Spanish Citizenship by Descent

As you may know, there are several ways to get Spanish Citizenship. By origin, by naturalization, by residency, by option. Of course having the Spanish passport is an ideal option for you: start living in Spain may be one of the best decisions you can take. Besides, it allows you to freely travel throughout Europe.

Enjoy the freedom to live, work and invest anywhere in the world


How can I find out whether my last name has Judeo Spanish ties?

We recommend checking out sephardim.com. If your surname pops up on a list there, it’s a good sign that you have the required ancestry.

What organizations are legally eligible to verify claims of Jewish ancestry?

The FCJE is a good starting place to find a proper authority – the Fedeacion de Comunidades Judias de España.

Will I need to give up my passport?

Spain has dual citizenship agreements in place with a number of Latin American countries and former colonies (see list above). If your country is on this list you will not need to give up your passport.

Still have a question?

Contact us

Eliminate dependency on a single nationality and passport

Join our newsletter to stay up to date on features and releases.

By clicking Subscribe you're confirming that you agree with our Terms and Conditions.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Contact us

240 Crandon Boulevard, Suite 240, Key Biscayne, FL 33149, USA
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.